the last word…diana

President and Mrs Bush greet TRH The Prince of...

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Am almost done reading Sarah Bradford’s Diana – Finally, The Complete Story. It really does seem to be the definitive last word, with contributions from previously unheard sources. Now that Diana, the Princess of Wales, is no longer at the center of the maelstrom that had become her life, and Prince Charles and Camilla have moved on together into older age, and Prince William has married his Kate, those “in the know” are inclined to come forward with the truth, as they witnessed it.

“The definitive biography of the Princess of Wales. In this authoritative account, Bradford paints a revealing, accurate portrait of a complex woman flawed and adored in equal measure.” —Daily Telegraph

“A very sad story. Bradford tells it eloquently, but it’s her admirable detachment that leaves one pitying all, not one, of the characters involved.” —Antonia Fraser, The Guardian Review

“Forget about tawdry revelations–Bradford takes us to the heart of the People’s Princess, examining her relationships with her staff, friends and family as well as her children, husband, lovers and the royal family. Authoritative and admirably balanced, it draws on new sources and firsthand accounts.” –Tatler

Minefield warning on the Golan Heights, still ...

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I won’t rehash the past, I’ll leave that to your potential to purchase the book, but I did want to call attention to the last charitable cause Diana undertook, which no individual seems desirous of undertaking in the wake of her untimely death years ago. And that is the detonation or better, extinction, of land mines. While those who sought to undermine the Princess of Wales would’ve labeled her a “basket case” or a “nut job” for walking through fields which had been cleared of landmines, there are those who would beg to differ.

According to William Deedes, a traveling companion on Diana’s landmine research trips to Angola and Bosnia

she sought to address herself to various issues in the world which were being neglected. There were millions of them (landmines) scattered round the world. They lurked wherever there had been conflict. A few charitable organisations were engaged in locating and lifting them, but it was discouraging as well as dangerous work because more mines were being constantly laid in the wars bedevilling Africa. The manufacturers of these mines represented a huge vested interest, which reduced the chances…of an international ban…defence forces in Britain, America and much of Europe saw the mines, properly laid and charted, as legitimate means of defence…

…’Nobody took a blind bit of interest in landmines until she (Diana) came along,’…

Deedes went on to say that the journalists who accompanied Diana on these trips were accustomed to “royal visits in daintier surroundings than Angola” and were, therefore, ” ‘dismayed’ by the state of the capital, Luanda, with stinking rubbish piled high in the hot streets.

 Sunday Times reporter Christina Lamb, a young, veteran war reporter cynical of Diana’s efforts there, had a change of heart after witnessing her work firsthand. “She was impressed: despite the heat and the smells Diana had come to work and work she did. Angola, said Lamb, was one of the few remaining places in the world where most people had no idea who she was, and therefore it was all the more remarkable to see the effect she had on the amputees she went among. ‘The Red Cross whisked us from one hospital to the next,’ Lamb wrote,…”

Nelson Mandela.

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each with ever more horrific scenes of skeletal figures with missing arms, missing legs, and blown off heads–victims of some of the 16m landmines scattered round the country. Many of the injuries were so gruesome I could not bear to look, despite years of Third World reporting. But Diana never turned her head away. Instead, she had something I’d only ever seen before in Nelson Mandela–a kind of aura that made people want to be with her, and a completely natural, straight-from-the-heart sense of how to bring hope to those who seemed to us to have little to live for.

Her cynicism ” ‘wiped out’,” Lamb went on to say ” ‘That Lady-with-the-Lamp performance wasn’t just for the cameras,’ “

Once, at a hospital in Huambo when the photographers had all flown back to their air-conditioned hotels to wire their pictures, I watched Diana, unaware that any journalists were still present, sit and hold the hand of Helena Ussova, a seven-year-old who’d had her intestines blown to pieces by a mine. For what seemed an age the pair just sat, no words needed. When Diana finally left, the young girl struggled through her pain to ask me if the beautiful lady was an angel…At the end of the Angola trip Diana said that the lasting image she’d take away was of that terribly ill young girl.

Diana, Princess of Wales: Tribute

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…one for the ages…diana…the people’s princess…hugmamma.

 

 

“normal,” whatever that means

If it weren’t for the fact that Prince William is heir to the British throne, and Kate Middleton will be Queen of England one day, these two star-crossed lovers might just be any normal pair of 20-something year olds venturing forward into holy matrimony. And as Prince Charles, waiting in the wings to be king, so memorably stated when becoming engaged to the country’s beloved Diana, “love, whatever that means,” is what their son and his fiance seem to truly feel for one another.

In “William and Kate,” a biography which hit bookstore shelves recently, their courtship rings of normalcy. Boy meets girl, they like each other, become a couple, and liking evolves into deep caring for one another. In all normal relationships, boy still feels the need to “sow his wild oats.” And in this case, the boy is no different.

Not being a subject of the royal crown, and living thousands of miles from the scene of the action, I was amazed to learn how MUCH Prince William “sowed his wild oats.” In that respect, he seemed very much like his father, Prince Charles. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a prude, but I don’t have a son, I’ve only a daughter. So I’ve not the experience of seeing first-hand, a young man carouse with a steady stream of beautiful women. I can’t even look to my husband’s experience since I was his first, and last, girlfriend before we married. Prior to our meeting, he’d been in a Catholic seminary after completing 8th grade. And because he was pretty shy around girls as a youngster, I’m almost certain his experience where they were concerned was nil.

Prince William had enough “honey” to keep the women buzzing around him. Son of one of the most celebrated women of all time, future king, gifted by the gods with a striking countenance, and exuding a quiet boyishness which encourages the maternal instinct in members of the opposite sex, Wills had no trouble attracting the girls. None. His mother would’ve been proud of him, as I’m sure all parents are when they’re offspring are found attractive and desirable. That increases the size of the “pool” of potential mates, when the time comes for settling down and raising grandchildren. I’m a mom, I too think about such matters. Of William, author Christopher Anderson writes, 

William, on the other hand, danced wildly onstage with a succession of women before collapsing at his table in a drunken stupor. Wills’s bodyguards had to pick him up and, said eyewitness Sue Thompson, “literally carry him off.”

The scene would be repeated over the next several weeks, particularly when Purple had one of its “Dirty Disco” nights. Before long, several of the women William groped and kissed on these evenings began talking to the newspapers.

“William has too much of a roving eye to settle down,” twenty-nine-year-old Purple patron Solange Jacobs said after being told William reportedly had a girlfriend named Kate Middleton. Jacobs was among several women who danced, drank, and snogged with William one night. “The way he acted with me, he didn’t seem to be in love with anyone else. He also chatted with a dancer and eyed up a girl in the VIP area. You wouldn’t have guessed he was seeing Kate. Wills looked very much on the prowl. Kate better watch out if she doesn’t want to be made a fool of.”

William was not above using his being a royal as a come-on. He took Jacobs’s phone number with the promise that he would call her and invite her to his palace. At no time, apparently, did he ever mention that he had a girlfriend. “I wish Kate the best of luck,” Jacobs said. “She might need it.”

And Kate’s response? The smart girl, Camilla’s precise words were “Miss Middleton is a very smart girl,” decided that ” ‘If anyone is going to have fun with him,’ she chided Will’s drinking buddy Guy Pelly, ‘it’s going to be me.’ ” So the next time William frequented any of his favorite London nightspots, “Kate was nestled at his side.” Her reason for such an understanding attitude? His family was to blame. After all, his parents had cheated, and “the Windsor men had a long history of womanizing.” She believed William’s love for her would never cause him to intentionally hurt her.

I’m betting Kate will make an excellent queen, standing loyally by her king, come hell or high water. It seems her calm, cool-headedness will weather whatever storms married life might rustle up. As William himself noted to his friend Guy Pelly,

Kate was, in many ways, becoming the one true constant in his life. “I can rely on her totally…She is completely there for me. I’ve never had anyone in my life like Kate.”

Yes, William and Kate separated for 6 weeks because he was unsure of his commitment to her at the time. But wily Kate pulled out all the stops to win her prince back. Letting him see that she was doing just fine in the company of other men, drove William to finally admit that “he loved her, and that he could not see himself marrying anyone else.”

And I’m betting William and Kate will indeed live happily ever after…if she has anything to do with it.

for the prince and his future queen… huge hugs for being normal…hugmamma.